Criminal Justice

Labor Department lawyer accused in stun-gun assault is found dead in his jail cell

Updated: A Labor Department lawyer accused of assaulting a co-worker was found dead today in his jail cell in Washington, D.C.

The lawyer, 58-year-old Paul Mannina, was found dead a day after a detective summarized the allegations during a preliminary hearing, the Washington Post reports. Mannina sobbed in court; his wife was among the spectators.

According to testimony by Detective Alexander MacBean, Mannina was supposed to meet the co-worker June 5 for breakfast, a visit to gardens and then dinner. But the lawyer pushed his way into the woman’s home, MacBean alleged, threatened her with a stun gun, then handcuffed her and assaulted her. The Washington Post summarized MacBean’s testimony in an earlier story.

According to MacBean, Mannina said the woman didn’t love him and threatened to go shoot himself, the Post reports. The woman’s injuries were so extensive that she required surgery to implant a plate in her face, the detective said.

The woman originally told police she didn’t know her attacker, then said Mannina was the perpetrator, MacBean said. She told investigators she originally lied because she was afraid Mannina would attack her again, the detective testified.

Mannina, of Ashton, Md., was charged with assault with the intent to commit first-degree sexual assault, and burglary while armed, according to prior reports. He was admitted to a hospital after the incident; a nurse said it was because of a change in mental state, according to MacBean. After his arrest, Mannina was placed on leave from his job with the Labor Department’s Division of Plan Benefits Security.

Judge Robert Richter said Monday that Mannina was a “wonderful person in most respects,” according to the Post account. Richter added, however, that there were “some dark things floating out there.”

Updated at 11 a.m. to include new information that Mannina was found dead in his jail cell.

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